September 2012 Newsletter

This newsletter provides business news and events on the programs and activities of Business Development, part of the Economic Development Directorate.

Business Development Strategy – Latest News

In April 2012, the Growth, Diversification and Jobs: A Business Development Strategy for the ACT was launched with the aim of harnessing knowledge and driving innovation and business growth, ensuring that the Canberra business community is highly collaborative, connected and sustainable.

This is to be achieved by fostering the right business environment, supporting business investment and accelerating business innovation.

Work has already progressed on achieving this with the lowering of payroll tax, and the current establishment of a red tape reduction panel to investigate regulatory impediments to Canberra businesses.

Access to skilled workers is one of the business community’s key concerns and actions identified in the Strategy have already been implemented to address some of these concerns. This includes the implementation of an Online Skilled Migration Processing System, replacing the previous paper-based application and information vetting system. The system went live on 19 July 2012, resulting in increased efficiency of the skilled migration facilitation process, reducing time and costs to both the applicants and the employees.

The Strategy also identifies a number of other actions that will support existing and future businesses by enhancing the business environment including providing better government compliance support; providing information, advice and business mentoring to new and established businesses; and adding a new local business evaluation criterion to the ACT Government’s procurement considerations.

Commitment to the Growth, Diversification and Jobs: A Business Development Strategy for the ACT has been further supported by the announcement of more than $20 million being allocated in this year’s budget.

Some of the programs being funded in this year's budget include:

  • NICTA, Australia's information and communication technology research centre for excellence;
  • The Canberra Business Development Fund, providing innovative ACT firms with a source of capital funds through equity investment; 
  • The Infrastructure Fund, to support the development of major proposals focused on new innovation infrastructure; 
  • Clean Tech, a new funding stream under Innovation Connect for clean technology or sustainability oriented companies; 
  • CollabIT, linking small and medium enterprises with multi-national corporations, purchasers and other ICT stakeholders; and
  • An ACT technology incubator feasibility study, which will investigate best practice models for a business incubator.

To find out more about the Growth, Diversification and Jobs: A Business Development Strategy for the ACT visit

ACT Students put their Business Skills to the Test

On Friday 27 July 2012, Australian National University (ANU) Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Cardew-Hall and University of Canberra (UC) Deputy Vice Chancellor Research Professor Frances Shannon launched the InnovationACT program.

In its fourth year, the InnovationACT program provides an opportunity for ACT tertiary students to work with mentors and gain an understanding of a range of different entrepreneurial areas. Through a series of workshops, seminars and open forums students gain experience in the creation of unique and innovative business ideas, to the progression and development of business plans for them.

The program encourages students from varying fields to join into teams, with the aim of cultivating interdisciplinary innovation and the ability for the team to take the business idea to the market.

To find out more information about InnovationACT visit External Link - opens in new window. To keep up to date with the latest news about the InnovationACT program, follow it at External Link - opens in new window or External Link - opens in new window.

Support for Energy Efficiency Innovation

Are you part of a business developing new products, processes and services relating to energy efficient technologies?

To assist innovative companies, AusIndustry is now providing funding through its Clean Technology Innovation Program to support research and development and early stage commercialisation of energy efficient technologies or green house gas emission reduction technology.

Launched by the Federal Minister for Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet, in July this year, the program will provide grants ranging from $50,000 to $5 million to successful applicants.

Applications for the grants are now open with applicants assessed in a competitive, merit based process.

To find out information about the Clean Technology Innovation Program, including a webinar information session, visit the AusIndustry website at External Link - opens in new window.

Innovation Connect supports more local businesses

A number of Canberra based businesses have recently been awarded funding in the latest round of Innovation Connect (ICon) grants.

ICon provides grants of up to $50,000 to support local businesses in developing their start-up products and services. Since the program’s establishment in 2008 a total of 93 local businesses have been awarded grants totalling approximately $2 million.

The five businesses awarded funding support in this round of grants are:

  • Stalkthis Pty Ltd: Grant to develop a retail product that combines the functions of a wish list, shopping basket, advertising platform and social media forum into one account.
  • Kord Defence Pty Ltd: Grant to develop a generic cable assembly for connecting the Kord Rifle Input Control to different weapon platforms and electronic devices.
  • Trade-Up Pty Ltd: Grant to develop a marketable proof of concept of the Trade-Up software system based on the masonry trade.
  • Reasonwell Pty Ltd: Grant to develop an innovative online platform for collaborative debate and deliberation.
  • Dr Frydon Far: Grant to trial an innovative method for the harvesting of blood extracts.

In addition, as identified in the recently launched Business Development Strategy, the ICon grant program now includes an additional funding category specifically targeting innovative clean technology business proposals.

ICon Clean Technology Grants support proof of concept and early stage commercialisation projects that improve environmental quality, reduce environmental impacts  and that can lead to the development of new, innovative clean technologies and services. Funding support ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 is available on a dollar-for-dollar matched funding basis to Canberra-based businesses, complementing ICon’s existing Proof of Technology and Accelerating Innovation funding categories.

Detailed information, application forms and Frequently Asked Questions regarding the ICon grants is available online at

ACT Businesses Supported to go Green

The ACT Government’s ACTSmart Business Energy and Water Program aims to assist small businesses in the ACT to reduce energy and water use, while lowering operating costs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The program offers a subsidised energy and water assessment conducted by a qualified assessor which will result in a tailored energy and water action report for the business. Businesses can claim 50% of costs of upgrades recommended in the report, up to a maximum of $5,000.

For more information on the ACTSmart Business Energy and Water Program visit the ACTSmart website at External Link - opens in new window.

Women in Global Business Speaker Series

The Canberra Business Event Centre recently played host to the sixth annual Women in Global Business Speaker Series. Put together by the Women in Global Business National Manager, Austrade and State and Territory committee members, the half-day seminar included a series of speeches from prominent businesswomen who have succeeded internationally in international growth markets. This included keynote addresses by Amanda Hodges, Acting Consul-General and Trade Commissioner for Austrade Istanbul; and Her Excellency Mrs Rima Alaadeen, Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordon, and case study presentations Gretel Harrison, F!NK Design; and Louise Curtis, Lollypotz.

To find out more about the Women in Global Business program visit their website at External Link - opens in new window or follow them at External Link - opens in new window.

Canberra Businesses Celebrate their Achievements

A number of local ACT businesses were recently award for their commitment, innovation and success at the 2012 Canberra BusinessPoint Awards and the ACT Telstra ACT Business Awards.

2012 Canberra BusinessPoint Awards

The Canberra BusinessPoint Awards, held on Thursday 6 September 2012, showcase the range and depth of successful businesses operating in the Canberra region. The awards are organised by Canberra BusinessPoint, the ACT Government's business advisory and mentoring service which is provided jointly by the Canberra Business Council and Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre.

Jigsaw Housing, named Business of the Year on the night, were recognises for their leadership in the innovative and emerging field of integrative design. Jigsaw Housing offers clients a comprehensive energy efficiency-focused residential building service, including design, construction and thermal performance assessment.

On the night a total of six businesses were awarded for their achievements in a range of categories:

Web and Mobile:
Cloud Central

Clean and Green:
Jigsaw Housing

Creative and Industry:
Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art

Micro Enterprise:
Canberra Holistic Massage

High Growth:
Handmade Canberra

Bricks and Mortar:
Switched on Cycles

To find out more about the awards or Canberra BusinessPoint visit External Link - opens in new window.

2012 Telstra ACT Business Awards

Held on Friday 27 July 2012, the Telstra ACT Business Awards recognised small-to-medium enterprises in a range of different categories. Starting in 2006 in an ACT lounge room, Point Project Management were honoured with the coveted ACT Business of the Year award, recognising their progression to now be one of Australia’s largest specialist project management consultancies.

Other local businesses recognised on the night include:

HTC Start Up Award:
Winner: Swish Education
Finalists: Shop Home Made and Sliced Tech

News Ltd Micro Business Award:
Winner: Transformed Pty Ltd
Finalists: Canberra Furnished Accommodation and Makin Trax Australia Pty Ltd

MYOB Small Business Award:
Winner: Provincial Plants and Landscapes
Finalist: Choku Bai Jo the farmers outlet, HRMWEB Pty Ltd, Nexis Accountants & Business Advisors, PayMe Australia and PCA People

Commonwealth Bank Medium Business Award:
Winner: Point Project Management
Finalists: Adore Tea Australia, Instyle Indoor Plant Hire Pty Ltd, Intelledox Pty Ltd

1300Australia People's Choice Award:
Point Project Management

Are you a local small-to-medium enterprise? Make sure your business doesn’t miss out on the recognition it deserves as well as a share in over $500,000 in cash grants and business products! Nominations are now open for the 2013 Telstra Business Awards.

To find out more visit External Link - opens in new window.

Save the Date – ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards

ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards
Wednesday 26 September 2012

The annual ACT Chief Minister's Export Awards are the Territory's most prestigious business awards. They acknowledge the innovation, hard work and success of businesses, large and small, in reaching new markets. The Awards recognise the important contribution that Australian Capital Territory businesses make to the local economy through job creation and increased prosperity in the community.

Applications for the 2012 ACT Chief Minister’s Exports Awards closed on Friday 27 August 2012. The winners of the awards will be announced at the ACT Chief Ministers Export Awards Ceremony to be held at the Hyatt Hotel on Wednesday 26 September 2012.

Winners of the ACT awards will then go onto the Australian Export Awards. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the national awards which will be celebrated at the Australian Export Awards National Awards Ceremony at Parliament House on Tuesday 27 November 2012.

For more information on the 2012 ACT Chief Minister's Export Awards visit External Link - opens in new window.